Click here to view in a gallery.
Work and creativity help keep creatures cool for exhibition at the fair.
GOSHEN -This week, thousands of animals are on the Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds that, just like their owners and other fair visitors, are trying to keep cool.
With temperatures in the 90s last week, fair veterinarian Robert Zell said that 4-Hers need to beware of dehydration and heat exhaustion in their animals.
Most barns have fans in them already, a few with misters too, he said, and owners need to provide plenty of cold, clean water.
Getting animals to drink isn't always easy at the fair where the water may not taste like it does at their homes.
Marissa Lorenz of New Paris, has been in 4-H eight years and has sheep, pigs and beef at the fair this year.
Lorenz said she has had trouble with her beef and, occasionally, her sheep not drinking the water. Her solution is to add powered drink mix.
It masks the cholorine and sweetens it, she said. Zell said many people add powdered drink mix or other sweet additions to keep animals drinking water.
Lorenz has other tricks to help keep her animals cool.
For beef cattle, Lorenz said they can be bathed several times a day and then blow-dried. If it's kept wept, their long, thick hair, which isn't cut for the fair, gets matted down and becomes "like a sauna."
Pigs can be sprayed too, but sheep shouldn't be washed often because it takes out the lanolin in the wool, which decreases the quality. Sheep are sheered for the fair, though.
Lorenz said that the heat is the worst on her pigs.
"Pigs can't sweat," she said. That's "why they root through mud because otherwise they stress out."
Sue Perri, assistant leader of the poultry club said that pigs, and Zell said that pigs, rabbits and poultry probably take the heat the hardest.
Poultry birds pant a lot, Perri said, and often hold their wings out to allow air to move under them. Perri said she remembers a fair, around 20 years ago, when temperatures were above 100 degrees and a few birds died in the poultry barn.
"We've been pretty fortunate over the years to not have many casualties."
Anna Hoff, a rabbit club project leader, said that people also use a spray bottle to mist their rabbits ears to help them stay cool.
On Thursday, as rabbit club members were bringing their rabbits to the fair, two suffered heat exhaustion.
Hoff said one was taken home, but the other recovered at the fair.
Along with fans and misting, owners of chickens and rabbits often freeze water in plastic bottles to give the animals something cold to cuddle next to.
Some animals are far too big to be cooled off by water bottles.
Todd Radermacher of Harrisville, Mich., was washing one of the six Cylesdales Friday that he and his family brought to the fair.
The horses, weighing in at between 1600 and 2400 pounds, are pretty easy going, he said, but said "it's hot for them."
Radermacher said that each horse generally drinks around 30 gallons a day but on these days with temperatures in the 90s or above, a Cyldesdale will drink around 40 gallons of water.
Like Lorenz, Radermacher said he adds a mix of flavored electrolytes at all the events they travel to. That way, the taste of the water they drink is consistent.
Along with running fans near the horses, Radermacher said he tries to regularly wash the horses.
"The nice cool bath feels good in the middle of the day," he said.